If Robert and Bryan could specialize in any material, it would be book reviews! Check out their review of The Paper Magician by Charlie N. Holmberg.
Bryan’s quick summary:
Ceony Twill was the top of her class at the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined, but even that doesn’t mean she can choose her fate. While most students get to choose their material specialty, she’s stuck with paper and the eccentric Emery Thane will be her guide. After she forever bonds to paper as her specialty, her master is attacked by a practitioner of dark, flesh magic. Now she must use everything she’s learned to keep Emery Thane alive in a journey that will take her into the chambers of Thane’s still-beating heart, his mind, and his soul.
The Paper Magician is by Charlie N. Holmberg
So what did we think? (From a reader’s perspective)
1. (Bryan) This is one of those books that takes a wild turn in its 2nd half. It’s completely different than the first and you have to suspend some disbelief. I’m still not sure if I liked that change or not, but independently, I enjoyed both halves.
2. (Robert) This is not a grand, large-setting adventure, but more similar to a stage play, where the scenes are mostly Thane and Ceony, or just Ceony, and they are quite intimate. The book is clean, but has an underlying romance and some quite gory violence. For the older YA reader!
3. (Bryan) A very cool world established in this one. Material magic opens a lot of possibilities, and this definitely seems like a series just getting started.
What did we think from a writer’s perspective?
1. (Bryan) Such cool ideas here. Paper needing to be folded just so. Different magics combining in unforeseen ways. It’s a heck of a canvas, and that’s why imagination is so key for writing.
2. (Robert) Some fans of the sword-and-sorcery genre might find this small story too small for them. I disagreed with the reviewers who found Charlie Holmberg tried too hard with the descriptions – I liked them. Think more “literary” and you’ll have a better idea of what to expect, and for that reason – along with the magic – this book makes an interesting study for any fantasy author.
3. (Bryan) Once again we see the importance of mystery. The instructor is a complete enigma and only by traveling through his memories do we see who he really is.
Bryan and Robert’s Famous Takeaways:
1. If you’re going to tell two different stories, prep your audience.
2. There’s still plenty of room for uniquely told magic! Not all of the Harry Potter fans will love this book, but those who like a more intimately told tale, with eccentric settings and less of the “bang and flash” style magic, will enjoy it.
3. The tale is well set for continuing (The Glass Magician is next) and there’s a lot of scope for more interesting and odd magic. I (Robert) look forward to it!
Prompt of the Week:
Which material would you specialize in and why? What kind of spell might you devise as your own magical specialty? How would you use it?